Mixin' it up with '70s rock royalty

Artist Ken Johnson and FEHVA organiser Dee Tipping admire one of Ken?s paintings which will be auctioned at the FEHVA art aucti
Artist Ken Johnson and FEHVA organiser Dee Tipping admire one of Ken?s paintings which will be auctioned at the FEHVA art aucti

DEE Tipping's background as a clothing designer for rock royalty may come as a surprise to many who know her as a high-profile Byron Shire community campaigner and event organiser.

But long before the Byron Bay resident was lobbying to cut plastic bag use and staging fundraisers and arts festivals, Dee trained as a textile designer.

It was a skill she put to good use when living in London in the '70s, working as a jill-of-all trades at a recording studio. Dee ended up making more money whipping up limited edition clothing and designing merchandise for the musicians than in her day job.

It led to her going on the road with clients to handle their merchandising - including Stevie Wonder, Santana, the Everly Brothers and Midnight Oil.

Standing on stage with the rest of the crew singing the classic, Isn't She Lovely, with Stevie Wonder at the end of a South-East Asian tour was one of dozens of pinch-me moments Dee experienced in her "wild ride".

An awe-inspiring experience for the Beatles fan was being introduced to George Harrison.

Dee moved to the Northern Rivers in the 1990s for a change of pace, but maintained her interest in the rag trade, developing a passion for Indian fabrics.

It's led to her designing a range of Indian inspired one-offs and limited-run designer cushions - or Khushions as she calls them - for Melange, an exclusive emporium in Luxembourg.

For the past eight months, she's been travelling between Asia and Europe, with her sewing machine and a host of fabrics, to piece the collection together.

Now locals will also be able to see the fruits of her labour when she stages The Mullumbimby Khushion Salon and Artwork Lounge today, from 10am-5pm.

A percentage of all sales on the day will go to charity. At 2pm, Dee will be sharing her travel tales that inspired the collection.

As it's being staged at a private residence, request an invitation from Dee by emailing and for more information visit

Topics:  byron bay santana

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